North Central ESD implements Climate Science and NGSS Professional Learning to area educators by leveraging collaboration opportunities among NCESD staff, community-based organizations, and other regional ESDs. The collaboration efforts extend to building teams of teachers that work together to create authentic climate science experiences for their students.
Teacher Professional Learning
There are multiple opportunities throughout the year for educators to engage in climate science professional learning:
- Two STEM Seminars provided through collaboration with Washington Green Schools during which educators can learn from scientists about the impacts of climate science in our region and translate their learning to student engagement.
- Pacific Education Institute’s Solutions Oriented Learning (SOL) Storylines professional learning events allows educators to learn more about and how to use the SOL storylines to enhance theirs and their students’ climate science knowledge, determine solutions, and elevate student voice.
- Area high school science teachers have worked for multiple years on developing a three year, integrated science curriculum using Ambitious Science Teaching practices. This work is nearing completion and professional learning is now being developed to facilitate the use of the curriculum across the state and beyond.
- Teams of 7th grade science and social studies teachers will work together to develop their understanding of the impacts of climate science on Washington and create interdisciplinary units to teach their students about these impacts.
- FieldSTEM focused on climate science impacts is an ongoing K-12 opportunity for educators throughout the region. School districts are encouraged to collaborate with their local community-based organization to get students outside for meaningful interactions with their environment.
At the elementary level, we are implementing new instructional materials through our STEM Materials Cooperative which supports eighteen of our twenty-nine school districts. The Smithsonian Science for the Classroom modules were developed to meet the Next Generation Science Standards. Knowing that students develop their science identity early and that science is often only taught a few minutes per week at the elementary level, providing high quality instructional materials with intentional professional learning is critical if elementary students are to gain the foundation needed to understand the complexities of climate science at later years.
Using the Ambitious Science Teaching framework, area teacher leaders developed AST units for the curriculum that will help students develop explanations for a variety of engaging phenomena. CASTL teachers will continue to make adjustments and develop more phenomena units as they reflect on student work and teacher feedback. These unit plans will be available as an open educational resource for any teacher that may have already adopted or will adopt these units.
In addition, the interdisciplinary units developed this year through the Civics of Climate Science professional learning events will be made available on Washington’s OER Commons.
At the high school level, we continue to build upon the work we began in the region around year-long high school courses. We are focused on the third year course: Integrated Environmental Science. This course has significant connections to performance expectations around climate science and human impacts with a focus on student generated solutions to those impacts. Over 400 students experience the integrated units and teachers are able to adjust the unit and consider the student learning connected with the work. With the support of school district professional development and ClimeTime funding, the team will continue to develop course work and assessments to complete a three year high school course of study. These resources are available online through Washington’s OER Commons.
Success Stories from North Central ESD
The Teaching for the Climate project was a field-based professional learning experience to support K-5 teachers’ ability to lead outdoor, experiential, place-based, and NGSS-aligned science learning that addresses climate topics.
"Wow, what an amazing workshop!! Loved all the GLAD strategies used and the voices of hope shared to teach about such a critical topic!" is just one piece of feedback received after the latest 3-day Voices of Hope GLAD Unit workshop. The event was held at Educational...
This fall students at Cascade High School in Leavenworth have been studying what the large scale disappearance of American Pikas from regions experiencing warmer summers and decreased winter snowpack can tell us about energy and matter in the environment and the...